Twenty years on, Neopets will soon be available as a mobile puzzle game – reminding many millennials of their awkward adolescence
As a woman who talks about video games on television, radio and elsewhere for a living, I’m often asked how I got into games, and I reply – truthfully – that I have been playing them my whole life. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family that owned every major game console. But when I reached adolescence, something (besides the obvious) changed. My varied video game diet narrowed dramatically. I skipped the entire console generation that included the PlayStation 2, GameCube, and Xbox in favour of my bedroom PC and two worlds it allowed me to access: The Sims and Neopets.
The Neopets website was launched in 1999, and I’m pretty sure I was introduced to it by my uncle, though it’s known for its popularity among girls. It fits with the idea of femininity as nurturing: a virtual world that allows you to care for cute pets, play games to earn a currency called Neopoints, shop for clothes for your pets, build and furnish houses, and chat on the forums.